By Carol Kincaid
Much of the Tuesday evening Edina City Council meeting was routine, dealing with the everyday matters of running the City. However, the November 13th meting was a time for renewal or change of insurance.
Hawkins Insurance Group representative Ed Anderson informed the Council of an average renewal increase of 11 ½ percent over the last few years. This year there is a 29 percent increase. He explained that the increase is due to the number of claims, which have been above the "pool average".
Anderson presented other options for the Council to consider, Number One of which was to increase the (employee) deductible from $1500 to $2500, and the (employee) out-of-pocket individual max from $3000 to $5000. The other two options were discussed and dismissed. Option Number One was given further consideration, but the majority of the Council members said they felt the increases in the deductibles could bring financial hardships on the employees, and they felt they had a "good bunch of employees now, and would like to keep them happy."
Council members voted five to one in favor of renewal of the current policy, accepting the increase. Alderman Craig Miller said he felt they were "foolish not to look at Option One" to increase the deductible in order to keep the city finances more on a business footing.
Also present at the meeting was Knox County Presiding Commissioner L.P. "Pete" Mayfield. He spoke about possible City cooperation with repairs/replacement of the curbs and sidewalks on the west side of the courthouse square. Streets and Utilities Superintendent Mike Wriedt interjected the idea that it would be less expensive over time if the city were to purchase a couple of pre-formed curbing forms, rather than build them each time they were needed. These could be stored and repeatedly reused.
It was a consensus that this was a good idea and the Council confirmed that they would assist in the replacement of the sidewalks and curbs when the County was ready.
Commissioner Mayfield also asked if there was a city requirement for a demolition permit, but received a negative reply. He mentioned the possible demolition of the "old Edina gym", and the accompanying problems with asbestos disposal.
Detective Robert Becker requested permission to speak with the Council. At that time he told them that he has been attending other City Council meetings in the County to announce his plans to run for Knox County Sheriff next year.
He spoke about his 12 years in law enforcement, eleven of those as a firearms instructor, and ten years as a K-9 officer. He explained that he has been undercover the last four years conducting covert drug operations with SRT and SWAT units. He has also been trained in the removal of Meth paraphernalia.
Even with his duties in law enforcement, Becker has found time to maintain ties with his home county. He is a valued member of the Knox County Coalition Against Meth, and in past years has made himself and his K-9 Ben available for use in operations with many of the surrounding counties.
Council members dealt with two letters requesting extensions on repair/demolish hazardous properties. As regards the property at 506 S. Linville, the request cited health reasons, and Council members noted that enough time had already been given this party, and denied the request. The property at 604 N. 4th was granted permission for thirty days, as it was stated that she was trying to sell the property.
Sgt. Kelly Hayes reported that there had been no trouble whatsoever over Halloween, and that there were 109 children at the Halloween party.
Supt. Wriedt reported the need to budget for "tank cleaning" (water tower- inside) and inspection in next year's budget. He also spoke about upgrading water meters, and gave a brief report on the water pipe project on North Street. He said they are widening and preparing the street for next spring.
He also noted a grease blockage problem taken care of earlier in the week. He said it would probably be mandatory in the next few years to do grease sampling in the sewer system before discharging. It was a consensus of those present that none of the existing restaurants in town have grease traps.
Due to a family commitment, Wastewater Facility Superintendent Brad Eitel's report was presented by City Clerk Margaret Gibson. His report showed the plant treating and average of 79,000 gallons per day in October. It is designed to treat 220,000 gallons per day.
The facility is required to meet a removal efficiency of 85 percent or more, for both nutrients and pollutants. It's efficiency is 99.0 percent for Nutrients and 99,2 percent for Pollutants.
He also said that he has completed sludge hauling for the year, and all three tanks are cleaned.
It was noted that city businesses are going to be requested to break down all of their cardboard boxes before pick up.
The filing dates were set for December 18 through January 22 for the April 8, 2008 election. The positions of Mayor, Collector, Alderman from Ward 1 (Renee' Edwards), Alderman from Ward 2 (Albert Hagerla), and Alderman from Ward 3 (Donnie Davis) will be eligible for the election.
Prior to adjournment, various other small items were discussed by the Board. The Council set the date for the "health and safety" meeting for the City employees of December 4. Mayor Davey Strickler Jr. mentioned the possibility of being able to get a grant for an airport, and the fact that he felt the Police Department was underpaid.